that came from Deborah Digges, poet

What culture tries to kill in people: excess (lust, love, mystery), not knowing, failure, the appearance of confusion.

What art tries to keep alive: the same things.  The confusion of being human, the bumbling of the spirit, the confusion of empathy.

Art like dream.  The social self must give way to a host of other selves; the controlling “I” must unravel, give up control to other beings in the dream, the art work . . .

Artistic failure happens when you know the outcome beforehand, when the “I” is too intact, too in control, too socialized, when “the over-voice is bellowing” so nothing else can be heard.

Art lives in: the bumbler, the unfit, the shadow.

The “I” must be violated, shattered, the distance must be broken – you are both the dreamer and the dreamed – you are acted upon by the world.  The insistence that you must stay in control must be broken – the hope is that you will get lost.

You write from the unsocial, the anti-social, the sub-social – you write NOT for the culture’s approval – you leave even the reader behind, or risk leaving the reader behind, for the art.

Harken back to all the other selves, past and future, good and evil.

Honor your obsessions, don’t judge them.  Never ask “Why?” about your obsessions; ask “How can they transform?” – how can they appear in different guises over time and become ways of speaking about many things?

No one knows what’s going on in you – and that’s good.

Kick everybody out of the room except your own heckling selves, your own wildness, your own othernesses – then write.


You can download this as a Word document here: Deborah Digges